The Top Tenant Rights You Should Know

Renting a home is a big responsibility. With over 43 million renters in the US alone, knowing what to expect from a landlord is vital information. One of the most important considerations is whether or not you have any rights as a renter.


If you're a renter, this article will help inform and protect you from potential unlawful acts by your landlord.

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Your right to a habitable home

You should know the first tenant rights is your right to live in a habitable home. This means that your landlord must provide you with a safe and secure environment. This includes ensuring the property is adequately insulated, clean, and has proper heating or cooling. There are many more protections for tenants regarding their homes, so make sure you know them before renting. If your landlord fails in their duties, you might be eligible for housing disrepair compensation.


Your rights to tenant privacy

One of the most crucial tenant rights is the right to privacy. Reasonable expectations of privacy are part of your legal tenant rights. Your landlord cannot enter your space without notice or permission. They cannot take photographs or videos of you or your property without your express written consent. You have the right to refuse an inspection by a landlord. Still, they may be able to inspect if there are signs of damage to the property, if they have reasonable concerns about health and safety in the building, or if you've abandoned the rental unit.


Non-discrimination laws for tenants

A fundamental tenant-right is the law against discrimination. This means that your landlord cannot refuse to rent to you based on certain factors, like race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.


This type of discrimination is illegal, and your landlord could receive fines and penalties if they are caught. Federal law also prohibits discrimination against anyone in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status.


If your landlord refuses to rent to you because of these factors, then you should contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) immediately. HUD will investigate claims and take further legal action to protect tenants' rights if necessary.


Eviction Laws

The first tenant-right that you should know is your eviction laws. Eviction laws are the set of state or local laws that govern when, how, and why a landlord can evict a tenant. Many states have stringent eviction laws to protect tenants from being evicted without just cause. For example, landlords cannot evict someone without a court order because it is unlawful for them to do so in Tennessee.


If you're ever unsure about the legality of your eviction, contact your city's housing department or speak with an attorney. The sooner you learn about your rights as a renter, the better off you will be.


Getting help as a tenant

It can sometimes be challenging to know your rights as a renter. If you're not sure how to handle an issue, many organizations offer help to renters with various problems. For example, the National Tenant Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that provides legal counsel to tenants with renter-landlord disputes. If you have an issue with your landlord, they may be able to help you resolve the matter without involving lawyers or judges.


Tenants should know that they have protection under the law and don't need to tolerate unfair or unlawful treatment by their landlords. When renting a home, every tenant has certain rights and responsibilities, so they need to understand these rights to protect themselves.


Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

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